Bayona – New Orleans, LA

French Quarter
430 Dauphine St. (bet. Conti & St. Louis Sts.)
New Orleans, LA
(504) 525-4455

I did my food research before departing for New Orleans. I visited Zagat’s Web site and looked for the highest food ratings I could find in the French Quarter with the lowest pomposity level. I stumble upon Bayona with Chef Susan Spicer. Food=27, Decor=26, Service=25. I’ve never seen higher than a 27 from Zagat’s…I quickly booked reservations and read a bit more about Susan. She also won “Best Chef in New Orleans” from a local newspaper’s vote.
Upon entry the setting is very inviting. We arrived a bit early and were seated in the lounge and served very good bar drinks without delay. We were a quite unwieldy party of 9 (we were supposed to be a party of 8, everyone’s favorite table!).

We were cozily seated and began the perusal of the wine novel. I chose an “old” favorite, a 1998 Domain Tempier Bandol.

The menu looked fantastic! I personally started with the Cream of Garlic soup that was more like garlic with a bit of cream. It wasn’t heavy for a cream soup, it was lite and wonderful. Around the table, others enjoyed the Asparagus and Lump Crabmeat with Satsuma Maltaise Sauce; Sautéed Sweetbreads with Potatoes, Mushrooms & Sherry Mustard Butter; various salads. Off to a tasty start!

There was a large party taking place on the 2nd floor that the chef was having to attend to so our main course was delayed for quite awhile. Luckily we could just keep ordering that Bandol! We had 5 bottles by evening’s end.

When the main courses did arrive, they were worth the wait. I had the Sautéed Salmon with Choucroute & Gewurztraminer Sauce. The salmon was perfectly done, the sauce was highlighted by the tart flavors of the Gewurztraminer. Choucroute is a fancy name for Sauerkraut…I don’t like sauerkraut…I cleaned my plate!!

Once the food came, the table became a veritable food orgy scene. Plates being shared, moans and mmmmm’s coming from every seat. We were all stuffed beyond belief but then received the dessert menu. When the waitress brought the menus out, we all gushed about the wonderful food and we wanted to praise the chef. She relayed the message and Susan came out to our round of applause. She was very modest, she didn’t even know Zagat’s had given her a 27.

Since we were all so stuffed we decided to share desserts and I believe we ordered four. A few minutes later, the servers come out with all 9 desserts that were listed on the menu to compensate for the delay of the main courses! Somehow, we made room:
(Pastry Chef: Pamel Hoyt Budinger)
White Chocolate & Pineapple Macaroon Cake
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
Spiced Poached Pear Napoleon
Warm Chocolate and Hazelnut Turnovers…..these were foodporn!
Satsuma Sorbet
Hazelnut Ice Cream
…I unfortunately didn’t write down the others!!

They were all wonderful, I kept going back to the Warm Chocolate and Hazelnut Turnovers though. They were so incredibly decadent, we were glad the restaurant had emptied a bit!

All in all, a wonderful, pornographic dining experience!